Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative Method is another way to meet a family’s goals and stay out of court. As with mediation, collaboration is based on a structured problem solving process adapted to each family’s unique dynamics and needs. A client centered process the Collaborative method has professionals acting as a team to provide guidence. Emotional, financial, and legal support is provided to clients. To help reach informed decisions in a respectful setting without the threat of a hearing or trial. You can’t force or order this voluntary process. It takes cooperation of both parties and commitment to good faith and transparency throughout the process.
How does collaborative method differ from mediation?
One key difference from mediation is that each client has thier own collaboratively trained attorney instead of a neutral mediator. The attorneys act as advocates for their respective clients. The Attorneys commit to helping the family resolve issues outside of the litigation process. For a complete list of attorneys who have attended collaborative law trainings, see both www.collaborativepratice.com and www.collaborativepracticeoregon.com . Also, see www.BridgesDivorce.com for Tonya’s local practice group along with additional articles and resources.
Is Collaborative Divorce affordable?
In terms of cost, collaborative method is usually comparable to using a mediator and consulting with an attorney for legal advice (3 professionals compared to 2 in a basic case). Collaboration can be more efficient than mediation if there is a need for advocacy on one or both sides, or if high conflict is present. The collaborative team is present during the majority of substantive work and discussion, so impasse or delay is less likely.
In contrast, mediating parties consult different attorneys outside of the mediation process, this may cause some disconnect or broken dialog. That said, for simple divorces where there is little to no conflict, mediation can be very efficient & low cost. Tonya recommends having a brief process consult before making a decision on what method is the best fit. Cost ranges can be provided during an initial consult as it varies greatly depending on issues and dynamics.
What does it look like?
Collaborative family law is highly adaptable and flexible to each family’s budget and needs. The process is usually a team of two attorneys and two clients. In some cases it can include professionals such as parenting coaches, child specialists, financial specialists, business valuation experts, or vocational coaches.
Initially, we will help design a roadmap for each family to meet specific needs and goals and address any complexities. We use software to help visually illustrate scenarios for clients to help in meeting both short and long term family needs. For additional reading, there are several handouts under “Resources: Forms and Handouts” that provide more in depth picture of the process.